Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28274
Hints and tips by pommers
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Hola from the Vega Baja on a bright and sunny morning. Looks like a nice day ahead once it warms up a bit.
Maybe it’s me not being on good form today, or perhaps RayT took on board my comment that his last puzzle was the easiest ever, because either way this one is a much sterner test, or at least I thought so. It’s the usual 4* enjoyment though as there are some clever bits of wordplay and some amusing surfaces. A lot of you disagreed last time so it will be interesting to see how you found this week’s offering.
As usual the ones I liked most are in blue. The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.
7a Sweet style embracing sweetheart with caress (8)
CHERUBIC: Start with a word for style, as in elegant, and insert an E (swEet heart) and a word meaning caress or massage.
9a Naughty child’s manner creating damage (6)
IMPAIR: The usual naughty child followed by a word for manner or bearing.
10a Medicine taken and oddly drowsier (4)
DOSE: Alternate letters (oddly) of drowsier.
11a Placebo, with time, almost played in harmony (10)
COMPATIBLE: Anagram (played) of PLACEBO TIM (time almost)
12a This person’s eating cold Southern chops (6)
MINCES: Take a word the compiler might use to say that something is his and insert (eating) a C(old) and then follow all that with an S(outhern).
14a China is origin of Chinese garden feature (8)
CROCKERY: For once china isn’t your mate but it’s cups and plates and stuff. Start with a C (origin of China) and follow with something often seen in gardens, it usually has large stones spread around.
15a Grand appearance shows nobility (6)
GENTRY: G(rand) followed by a word for an appearance, on stage perhaps.
17a The compiler’s free to hide answer for multitude (6)
MYRIAD: Another word the compiler might use to say he owns something followed by a word for to free or to clear with A(nswer) inserted (to hide).
20a Sharpened edge of razor having finished exterior (8)
STROPPED: Start with an R (edge of RazoR) and around it (exterior) put a word meaning finished or ceased. You can’t really complain that there’s no indication of which edge of razor you need.
22a To the French, sudden wind is dignified (6)
AUGUST: A word meaning “to the” in French, not “a la” but the other one, followed by a word for a sudden bit of wind, not flatulence, as implied by the clue, but a blast of real wind.
23a Deny daughter’s single in engagement (10)
CONTRADICT: An engagement or agreement has a D(aughter) and the usual letter for single or one inserted (in).
24a Bit of gin knocked back (4)
PART: What a gin is an example of is reversed (knocked back). A pedant might say there should be something to indicate that gin is merely an example of something but it works for me as it’s a bit of a chestnut.
25a Small flower captures heart of ample partner (6)
SPOUSE: Flower here isn’t some flora but a river a river in Yorkshire, formed by the confluence of the rivers Swale and Ure, which flows south-east into the river Humber. Start with S(mall) then the river and insert (captures) the middle letter (heart of) amPle. Here endeth the geography lesson.
26a Guess he will split Tories, making late switch (8)
THEORISE: HE (from the clue) is inserted (will split) into TORIES (from the clue) and then the last two letters are reversed (making late switch). Clever! Took a while to twig that the word TORIES was simply lifted from the clue.
1d Filming owlets finally making owl noises (8)
SHOOTING: S (owletS finally) followed by a word for making the noise an owl is said to make, unless it’s a screech owl of course when it would be screeching.
2d Unrestrained Queen in charge (4)
FREE: A charge with R(egina) inserted. A warm welcome to Her Majesty for this week’s guest appearance.
3d Digital calculator? (6)
ABACUS: A cryptic definition, I guess, of a calculator operated by one’s fingers.
4d A top flipping Conservative’s slow (8)
DILATORY: Take A ( from the clue) and a top or cover and reverse them (flipping) and follow with a word for Conservative.
5d Occasionally super idea shows dash (10)
SPRINKLING: This dash isn’t running or elan but a small amount. It’s the alternate letters of SuPeR (occasionally) followed by a word for an idea, as in you get an idea that something may be about to happen.
6d ‘Skill, eradication’ describes one (6)
KILLER: An all-in-one and a lurker as well. The answer’s hidden in (describes) the first two words of the clue.
8d Clowns come over menacingly in circus show initially (6)
COMICS: First letters (initially)of the other words in the clue.
13d Group making music, or not? (10)
CONSORTIUM: Anagram (making) MUSIC OR NOT. Now here’s a group making music . . .
16d Regular exercise ends in accident in grass (8)
REPEATED: Take one of the two letter exercises and AT (ends in AccidenT) and insert them (in) into some grass.
18d Torment one on street wearing costume (8)
DISTRESS: I (one) and the abbreviation of street inside (wearing) a costume or clothing.
19d Aimless commercial break (6)
ADRIFT: The usual abbreviation of a commercial followed by a break or gap.
21d Army of Taliban leader on trail, getting comeuppance (6)
TROOPS: Start with a T (leader of Taliban) and then you need a trail left by an animal but it’s reversed (getting it’s comeuppance in a down clue)
22d National song American theme’s embodied (6)
ANTHEM: Another lurker. It’s hidden in (embodied) American theme.
24d Ship’s left harbour (4)
PORT: Double definition
Some good stuff as usual but my favourite is the elegantly simple (in both senses of the word) 24d. For me 26a and 8d join it on the podium but I’m sure you’ll have other ideas.
Quickie Pun: GEAR + VENT + ACHE = GIVE AND TAKE